Indian hands over 10 locomotives to Bangladesh

On July 27, 10 broad gauge locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal

July 28, 2020

In recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land and air routes faced disruptions

As India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia, exports to Bangladesh were valued at US$8.2 billion during 2019-20, while imports from Bangladesh stood at US$1.3 billion

Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh. The increased traffic is expected to significantly boost bilateral trade

To further strengthen cross-border rail connectivity, one new rail link between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh is being constructed under Grant Assistance of India

On July 27, 10 broad gauge locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal. In keeping with the requirements of the Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh. The handing over of the locomotives, under grant assistance from the Government of India, fulfills an important commitment made during the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina to India, in October 2019. Bangladesh’s Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, received the locomotives on the Government’s behalf.

In recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land and air routes faced disruptions. Rail as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border. Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June. A total of 103 freight trains were utilized for carrying essential commodities and raw materials. As India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia, exports to Bangladesh were valued at US$8.2 billion during 2019-20, while imports from Bangladesh stood at US$1.3 billion. Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh. The increased traffic is expected to significantly boost bilateral trade.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jaishankar said, “This will open up new opportunities for businesses… During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of essentials particularly in the holy month of Ramadan was ensured.” He expressed his happiness that the COVID pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation. Shri Goyal added, “These locomotives will be useful in handling the on-going freight train operations between India and Bangladesh…The leadership of both India and Bangladesh is committed to reviving the pre-1965 railway connection between the two countries. Out of the 7 rail links that existed then, 4 are functional now. To further strengthen rail connectivity, one new rail link between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh is being constructed under Grant Assistance of India.”

During his address, on behalf of the Indian Railways, Shri Goyal also committed support to Bangladesh in its development of the country’s rail network. He underscored the significance of railway cooperation in enhancing bilateral trade and connectivity and in further boosting the economic partnership.